Tuesday nights in Gulfport only mean one thing . . . rhythm and blues at the Peninsula Inn. For the past few years, Sterling Magee and the Harlem Blues Band helped pack the house with “Mississippi Blues” and popular oldies like “Mustang Sally.” The entertainment at last night’s show was not different, however the line-up was. The band was short an original member, Dave Laycock, known to many as “Dave on Drums”, wasn’t present.
“This is how he would have wanted it,” Zach Laycock, Dave’s Godson, said.
Last night, friends, family and band members paid tribute to one of their own. Dave passed away on November 14 at the age of 60 in Gulfport. When loved ones thought of holding a memorial for him, they knew a Celebration of Life with rhythm and blues was exactly what the local musician would have wanted.
“This is the best tribute that David could ever have . . . he’s here,” Dan Laycock, Dave’s older brother, said.
Described as a caring, loving and uplifting person, Dave leaves behind a mother, brother and large extended family including his nephew Zach Laycock, 29, of Tampa.
“He was a true free spirit. He lived his life the exact way he wanted to live it,” Zach said.
Zach moved to Florida in 2005 because of his uncle Dave. Zach says Dave became an instrumental part of his life when his father passed away a few years ago.
“He was my Godfather. I owe the person that I am now to him,” Zach said.
Born in Covington, Kentucky in 1951, Dave’s love of music steered his life and led him to Gulfport 10 years ago. Dave received his very first drum set when he was just 8 or 9 years old. He began touring with bands across the country in 1966, when he was just 15.
“He was making $15,000 a year. That’s $75,000 in today’s market,” Zach said.
Dave’s brother Dan said his little brother “did exactly what he wanted to do.” Dan said Dave moved to Gulfport a decade ago because he met another drummer, visited the town and fell in love with it. Three years ago, Dave’s parents Mary and Bob moved down here from Kentucky. Dave took care of them. He took care of everybody.
Dave had a big heart, an uplifting laugh and was a true friend. Throughout his life, he always gave to others and stayed true to himself and his music.
Dan said his little brother shared something with him, saying, “The only time I ever felt like anything was when I played drums.”
Friend and band manager Kevin Moore says his generosity and friendship will be missed.
It was with heavy hearts but large smiles and fond memories that friends, family and the community honored a man who was “one in a million.”
Dave Laycock was preceded in death by his brother, Steve and father, Rob. Imediate family will hold a private service.